Aviators who quietly made history
In the history of aviation there has been millions of pilots and a lot of really amazing ones, however only a few have made worldwide fame for their ability as a pilot. There are many pilots who have achieved incredible feats but are widely unknown to the world. We have collated a list of 10 great pilots that have missed the widespread recognition of those such as Emelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.
Wien was a pioneering Alaska bush pilot that brought airline service to Alaska. He was the first ever to fly above the Arctic Circle and the first to make a round-trip journey between Alaska and Asia. He personally taught many pilots how to fly for his airline Wein Air Alaska. The flying routes and practices that Wein created are still used by pilots in Alaska today.
Erich Hartmann was known as the deadliest ace on the list of legendary World War II fighter aces. Hartmann was a German pilot that is credited with downing 352 Allied aircraft without being ever shot down himself. He flew an incredible number of 1,404 missions, and the vast majority of his victories came against the Solviets. He spent nearly a decade in a Russian prison falsely accused of war crimes.
Bryan Allen has earned himself the title of the hardest working pilot ever for his unusual and very tiring method of flying. Allen was an amateur cyclist and engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab, but also acted as the human powerplant of a few of Paul MacCready’s record setting people-powered planes. His endurance proved to be incredible when he was on the trip across the Channel from England to France. On the trip he came against unexpected headwinds and ran out of drinking water. He suffered from dehydration and severe cramping, however he completed the journey and earned his place in history.
Jacqueline had a successful business prior to WWII being a beautician that used her aeroplane to fly to clients. She had a vision of females being able to fly support missions to help in the war effort. After Cochran received several flying awards and titles the Army Airforce was willing to take on the idea and the Women Air Force Service Pilots was born. After the war Cochran continued flying and became the first woman to break the sound barrier in 1953.
Eric Brown last flew more than 2o years ago, however he still holds the record for the most aircraft to be flown in a lifetime, being 487 aeroplanes. He worked as a Royal Navy test pilot and he also holds the record for the most carrier landings ever made, accumulating to 2,407. His years of test piloting helped refine countless aircraft for WWII pilots. He was well known for being calm under extreme pressure, which attributed to his survival in many close calls.
Conrad was friends with one of the most famous pilots of all time, Charles Lindbergh. His achievements as a pilot were accumulating 50,000 hours of flight time before his death in 1979, despite suffering from brain damage after being hit by a propeller as a young man. He set several distance and endurance records as a ferry pilot of which some still stand today.
LeVier’s achievements as a pilot are very much undervalued as he affected a lot of aircraft over his career as a test pilot, including the P-38 Lightning. He also developed a lot of vital aviation innovations, including the hot mic system for multi-place airplanes.
This pilot has been described as average by some, however in regards to his courage he definitely deserves a title for being one of the most adventurous aviators of all time. Mermoz was an instrument in working out some of the first flying routes over the rough environment of the Andes in South America. His 21 hour long flight in 1930 led to the establishment of the first postal mail route across the South Atlantic.
Jacqueline Auriol was a highly successful French aviator, and was a supersonic test flier in competition with Jacqueline Cochrane whom we have already mentioned in this article. Her career started in 1940 with what was called a tourist licence to fly stunt flights. She broke the sound barrier shortly after Cochrane had.